Tag Archives: Income Distribution

For Economists Saez and Piketty, the Buffett Rule Is Just a Start – NYTimes.com

17 Apr

A profile of the economists who’ve done the major work on income inequality in the US.

Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have spent the last decade tracking the incomes of the poor, the middle class and the rich in countries across the world. More than anything else, their work shows that the top earners in the United States have taken a bigger and bigger share of overall income over the last three decades, with inequality nearly as acute as it was before the Great Depression….

Both admire, even adore, the United States, they say, for its entrepreneurial drive, innovative spirit and, not least, its academic excellence: the two met while re-searchers in Cambridge, Mass. But both also express bewilderment over the current conversation about whether the wealthy, who have taken most of America’s income gains over the last 30 years, should be paying higher taxes.

“The United States is getting accustomed to a completely crazy level of inequality,” Mr. Piketty said, with a degree of wonder. “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.”

via For Economists Saez and Piketty, the Buffett Rule Is Just a Start – NYTimes.com.

A Tale of Two Towers: 8 Spruce Street and One World Trade Center

11 Oct

Spruce Street and One World Trade Center I took part in last Wednesday’s Community/Labor March To Wall St. in New York City. I met some musician buddies at Washington Square Park and we marched to Foley Square with the New York University group, though none of us are affiliated with NYU. From Foley Square, a bit Northeast of City Hall. There we joined up with the main crowd, and a passel of musicians, and headed on to Liberty Plaza, flanked and guided by police all the way.

Not long after we left Washington Square Park, say a five or six blocks out, I noticed this building ahead, and I kept tracking it all the way down:

NYC - Civic Center: 8 Spruce Street

Photo of 8 Spruce Street by Wally Gobetz

That’s a new luxury apartment building at 8 Spruce Street, just south of City Hall. It was designed by starchitect Frank Gehry.

Does anyone who lives there care about us marchers? I thought. It’s a pricy building, with studio apartments starting at $3770 a month, which is over $42,000 per year, and two bedrooms at $6045 per month, almost $61,000 per year. I’m thinking that, no, the folks who live there are more likely in the 1% who’re living high off of banker’s bonuses than in the 99% who can’t afford health insurance and who won’t have pensions when they retire.

More likely than not, they think things are pretty much OK as they are. Maybe the bonuses are a little slim, but the rabble down here marching to Liberty Plaza, we don’t figure in their view of the world. They have no empathy with us.

But then how could they?

My father was an engineer. He worked in an office. But his work took him into coal mines to collect samples and to inspect the coal face. He knew that mining was dirty and dangerous work and believed that no one should have authority over coal miners unless they’d worked in the mines themselves. Continue reading